Joao Cancelo believes he is learning from best manager in the game at Man City

Press Association Sport 18:03 21/10/2019
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Joao Cancelo believes he is learning from the best manager in the game at Manchester City in Pep Guardiola.

Cancelo, a £60 million summer signing from Juventus, has started City’s last two matches after taking time to get up to speed with Guardiola’s demands.

Cancelo, speaking at a press conference ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Atalanta, said: “When I came here I came here to learn. Pep is the best manager in today’s football.

“It’s true it took me time but it is important the club wins. When I finally had an opportunity to play I did well and the team won.”

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Little margins key if we want to win Champions League, says Man City boss Pep Guardiola

Press Association Sport 17:54 21/10/2019
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Pep Guardiola has called on his Manchester City players to show they have the mentality to win the Champions League.

The City boss said after the Premier League winners’ victory at Crystal Palace on Saturday his side were not yet ready to win Europe’s elite competition.

City are again rated among the favourites but in the past three years they have stumbled in the knockout stages and Guardiola feels there are mental hurdles that must be overcome.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s Group C clash with Atalanta, Guardiola said: “I think the way we are really strong as a team has been built up from four seasons ago.

“But it’s more for the fact that two times in the Champions League we went out on away goals and in both games we conceded a lot of goals.

“In this competition you play against incredible players and, if you give some teams one moment, a metre, they will score. We have to know that.

“These little margins are sometimes the difference and we’re working on that. I believe that kind of situation is about the mentality.

“We’re good enough and we’re strong enough. When you play good, you defend less. When you don’t play good, you concede a lot.”

City beat Palace 2-0, bouncing back from their loss to Wolves prior to the international break, but Guardiola felt they should have won more convincingly.

The City boss does not believe his team are clinical enough, even though they are the top scorers in the Premier League by some distance. He also, although perhaps inadvertently, chose a strange example to illustrate his point – last month’s 8-0 win over Watford.

He said: “The Champions League will be won in the box and so far we haven’t been very strong in the box.

“We have made a number of mistakes that we shouldn’t make at this level. For example in the match against Watford we created a lot of opportunities but scored very little.

“But of course we have time. Tomorrow we have this chance to improve. We need six more points to qualify and tomorrow we can make an incredible step forward.

“We will see how we are in February in the latter stages if we are to go through.”

City are looking for a third win from three games in their group after victories over Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb.

Atalanta are still to register a point but, as they sit third in Serie A and finished in that position last season, Guardiola expects a difficult contest against Gian Piero Gasperini’s team.

Guardiola, who used to play for Atalanta’s arch-rivals Brescia, said: “Having seen what Atalanta did last year and what they are doing this year, it is incredible. It is a great joy to watch his (Gasperini’s) team play.

“They are brave, they respect their supporters and they love the way they play. The way they play is quite unusual, they take a few risks.”

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Marcus Rashford disappointed not to beat Liverpool but hopes Man United can build on draw

Press Association Sport 17:30 21/10/2019
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Marcus Rashford is determined to kick on after Manchester United’s improved display so nearly brought a surprise victory against Liverpool.

The international break was an uncomfortable period for all connected to the Old Trafford giants, with the loss at struggling Newcastle leading focus to increase on players, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the entire background structure.

Yet United rallied impressively and came out fighting against reigning European champions Liverpool, with Rashford putting the hosts ahead on an afternoon when they would fall just short.

Substitute Adam Lallana secured a late 1-1 draw for Jurgen Klopp’s men, who had won their previous 17 league matches but, in Rashford’s opinion, should have tasted defeat on Sunday.

“My overall feeling is disappointment,” Rashford said.

“I think we deserved the three points and we can say it was a better performance, but at the end of the day they didn’t deserve to draw or win t
he game.

“So, I see it as we’ve lost two points and it was a big opportunity, a big game, but we keep going.

“We’ll try and get a win midweek and hopefully we can kick on.”

United head to Serbia to take on Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League on Thursday, when Rashford wants to see more of a swagger and cutting edge.

“The second goal would have made the game a lot more simple for us,” the England international said.

“It didn’t come. I’d say 20 minutes before they scored the goal you can see we stopped playing passes in behind, and I always say when we stop doing that it puts more pressure on us as a team.”

Rashford added: “This club, we play attacking football and as soon as we take our foot off the gas a little bit it’s difficult to defend against top players for large spells like we had to towards the end of the game.

“So, I think we’ve just got to be more positive – at 1-0 or 2-0 up, we need to be more positive.”

The return of Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard will surely help that positive mindset, although Daniel James worked well with Rashford on Sunday and linked up together for the opener.

“We had a bit of eye contact before,” Rashford told MUTV.

“These are the fine margins we’re working with, so probably without looking at each other and getting that little connection we wouldn’t have got the goal.

“Instead, you’d miss which has happened a lot in the past. So yeah, it was a good goal, but we definitely want more.”

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